Home #WHERETONEXT Caribbean Please Your Palate With Plantain From St. Martin’s 2nd Annual Culinary Festival

Please Your Palate With Plantain From St. Martin’s 2nd Annual Culinary Festival

Chef Nicolas Sale with some of the Culinary Festival competitors and participants

Throughout the Caribbean, and indeed much of Africa, Asia and South America, the cooking banana known as plantain is ubiquitous. It looks like a dessert banana, but the taste is starchy and much less sweet, so it’s best enjoyed cooked – whether still green or ripe and yellow. Because the plant produces fruit year-round, it is a major food staple in countries where food preservation, refrigeration and transportation can be difficult, making it a flexible fixture of Caribbean cuisine.

Home cooks in the Caribbean know that frying plantain caramelises the fruit and increases the sweetness. It can also be turned into chips and patties, flour for cakes and boiled and mashed to resemble mashed potatoes. Plantains are amazing barbecued. 

On the French West Indies island of Saint-Martin, the second annual Festival de la Gastronomie invited chefs from around the island to show off their stuff and come up with some new and unique offerings featuring plantain…and they certainly delivered!

The competition was judged by top culinary names under the overall patronage of twin Michelin star Chef Nicolas Sale, formerly of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, France. Judging of the 67 participating restaurants took place over 10 days in November 2022. Whether you’re a passionate plantain enthusiast or just plantain-curious, the recipe below courtesy of competition judge Renee Blackman is packing some serious Caribbean flavour. Remember the mantra: no plantain, no gain! Here is a fun recipe you can try at home!

Pork loin with sweet plantain scotch bonnet BBQ sauce, pickled mango and smashed crispy plantain


  • 1lb pork loin 
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning

Scotch Bonnet BBQ Sauce

  • 1 scotch bonnet
  • 1 sweet plantain
  • 1 scotch bonnet
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 sweet onion

Pickled onion

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Mashed crispy plantain

  • 2 green plantains
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation and cooking

  1. Take the pork loin and soak it in lime and salt for 2 hours. Drain and rinse off the pork. Season with spices, jerk seasoning and oil. Let it marinate for 2 hrs at minimum. Sear on all sides and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Allow the loin to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  2. For the BBQ sauce, cut up the sweet plantain, add all ingredients and bring to a simmer for 1 hour, carefully add to a blender, and remove the plastic vent atop your blender before starting. Blend until fully smooth, place back in the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes and let cool.
  3. Heat the vinegar and sugar and place liquid over thinly sliced onions, let cool and refrigerate. When ready for serving drain and place on the food.
  4. Cut the green plantain into small pieces and fry until golden brown and soft. Season with salt and minced garlic with white pepper and mash lightly.


Plate the dish by placing the mashed plantain first, followed by the pork loin, a kiss of sauce and pickled onions. Voila et Bon Appetit!